I knew this school year was going to be a rough one emotionally when we boarded the plane to come back to Kuwait in August. My sister was due to deliver her first baby in November and I was going to be missing all the fun and bonding that comes with such a huge family event. I was not prepared to be handed the emotional roller coaster we've been dealt since we got back, including the crazy day we had yesterday.
Tyler and I are so excited to spoil the crap out of this little angel. She doesn't realize how badly her aunt and uncle needed her arrival that day. She may have been born ahead of her due date, but she was right on time as far as I'm concerned.
Within 24 hours, the hubs and I lost a grandfather and gained a niece.
Tyler's Grandaddy had just been admitted to the hospital two days before and we were warned that it didn't look good. We hadn't been given any prognosis on how long it would be before Grandaddy passed, so it was very sad to get The Call at 1am on Thursday morning.
Grandaddy was our family's All American Hero. He and his twin brother flew missions in World War II and Grandaddy went back for more when his country called during the Korean War. He loved his wife with a devotion that has always brought tears to my eyes. He aged with a grace that most men could only wish for. His sweet smile and simple pleasure to just be in the company of the people he loved was what I loved most about joining Ty's family for their annual reunions in Alabama each year. He would find himself a comfy chair in the corner and watch with delight as a scene of organized chaos unfolded in front of him. He always put his family first and took delight in watching the people he loved have a great time. He stayed as active as possible, restoring vintage cars as long as he possibly could. I am so happy I got to join his family and hear his sweet stories for as long as I did and I will miss his gentle smile every summer.
Once I was awake at 1am, I texted my sister as I waited for my eyes to get heavy again. Imagine my surprise when she responded and said she was on her way to the hospital! We were called again at 4:30am by Tyler's family and when we told his dad that my sister was in labor he kind of chuckled and said, "Ah, the circle of life."
It was a struggle to drag myself out of bed an hour later to get ready for work. This marks the third family funeral that the Mister and I will miss this year. To say 2013 has been a rough one is an understatement. To add to the guilt I already feel for not being there to comfort my family, I had to deal with the guilt of feeling so delighted with my impending premiere as an Aunt when I should be focusing on letting my husband grieve. I was exhausted, I was sad, I was ecstatic. I was a mess.
So I went in to my principal's office as soon as I got to school. I basically told him sorry-not-sorry for being wildly unprofessional when my sister called on FaceTime to let me be the first to "meet" her baby. I had selfishly requested that my sister call me first so I could see her and the baby before the onslaught of grandparents and well-wishers came into the room. I told my principal that as expats we get very few of these kinds of privileges to be involved in big family events and, dangit, I was going to take advantage.
After I finished my rant he simply said, "Of course! You'll have no argument from me!" I'm so glad to work with such supportive administration. Our principals' understanding in all of our hard times this year has made it such a blessing to work here.
I wavered between highs of joy and lows of sadness all day. Thankfully I didn't have many classes to teach that particular day, so the kids didn't have to watch me break down in front of the class like I did after my aunt Jackie died. During a grade level team meeting, my FaceTime fired up and I was greeted by the face of my very exhausted sister.
I'm an aunt, y'all! After 9 hours of labor, including 4 hours of pushing, with no pain medicines AT ALL, my badass sister delivered a healthy, beautiful, baby girl. Even though she and her husband were both completely drained, my sister made sure to call me before she went to sleep so I could have a much needed ray of sunshine.
|It was blurry and dark, but I was instantly in love.
...And just because I'm a new aunt and everyone should have the opportunity to oooh and awww at my niece, here are more screen shots of her precious little face. This is how expats meet new family members.